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Wycliffe Associates plans to launch 30 new Scripture translations in Middle East in 45 days

US-based Bible translation organisation Wycliffe Associates aims to launch as many as 30 new Scripture translations in the Middle East over the next 45 days.

The organisation, which needs to raise $US19,500 for each language, said as many as 150 language groups in the region still don’t have a Bible translation. They add that the ambitious target comes in the face of “intense persecution” of people involved in Bible translation projects in the region.

Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, said many Bible translators have been arrested. “Their families have watched them being dragged off, jailed, beaten, and tortured,” he said. “They’ve lost their jobs and their families simply because they tried to share God’s Word with their countrymen.”

Wycliffe is aware of one translator who was arrested imprisoned for eight months and only released on the condition that he was not to associate with any Christians for five years. He lost his job due to his imprisonment. Another translator was recently sent to jail for 33 days after being accused of spying. Later released, he was forbidden to leave the country and told he would be summoned to court for sentencing before going to prison. He, too, lost his job as a result and now lives with relatives.

“I have never seen faith like the faith of these Christians, laying their lives on the line, risking horrible recrimination if they’re caught,” said Mr Smith. “That’s how important God’s Word is to them. In this region of the world, the Bible is a matter of life or death. Eternity hangs in the balance.”



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